Malphurs defines Christian core values as “the constant, passionate”, biblical core beliefs that drive the ministry. Core values are “why we do what we do” and influence our overall behavior. Values inspire people to action. Core values are not part-time influencers of behavior; they are continuous and constant. Core values drive a person or organization to passion, enthusiasm, or positive obsession. Christian core values flow out of God’s word; they are not just the whim of man. Values drive the ministry because they drive behavior – both in the past and today.
If core values drive behavior, then behavior reveals core values. Unfortunately, not all Christian behavior flows from core values centered on Christ through His Spirit. According to Paul’s letter to the Galatians in chapter five, believers battle with core values centered on their flesh and need continuously to make the choice to choose Christ-centered values. Therefore, Christian leaders need to base their leading on a firm “Bible-based values system.” In Galatians, Paul urges believers to embrace the Spirit, the giver of godly core values to drive out the flesh.
God calls leaders to value endurance in the battle and therefore evidence in their behavior the strength to continue to “fight the good fight”, continue “keeping faith”, and to preserve “a good conscience.” Leaders are to value godliness and therefore lead godly lives through their “speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.” Leaders are to value Spirit-led discernment based on God’s Word shown by a hunger for nourishment and true doctrine from the Word.
Leaders must align their lives and their core values. Paul stresses leader modeling as he encourages Timothy, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul sets himself up as an example for his readers to follow. Today’s Christian leaders should also be able to put themselves up as an example of Christian living.
When Matthew recorded Christ’s Great Commission to go and make disciples, the Disciples were to go and reproduce themselves in the lives of others. The Disciples were to pass on the same core values at the same obsessive level that drove the behavior of the Disciples. Although many view the word “obsession” as a negative word, this paper draws on Dr. Eric Maisel’s definition. Positive obsessions are “insistent, recurrent thoughts or sets of thoughts, pressurized in feel, that are extremely difficult to ignore, that compel one to act [behave], and that connect to one’s goals and values as an active meaning-maker.” Positive obsessions compel people to behave consistent with their values.
Oswald Chambers focuses this positive obsession on God Himself. “Our life inside and out is to be absolutely obsessed by the presence of God.” Positive obsession is not about ‘the work of God’ or our Christian life, but about God. Our obsessions drive both our inward life and our outward behaviors. Imagine if Christians all over the world walked with Christ at a positively obsessed level. The world would likely be a very different place.